hairy creatures of God


Most people would probably not know that the Communist Party of the USSR (Bolshevik) also had a policy on amputation. Stalin elaborates on the policy in 1925:

We are against amputation. We are against the policy of amputation. That does not mean that leaders will be permitted with impunity to give themselves airs and ride roughshod over the Party. No, excuse us from that. There will be no obeisances to leaders. (Voices: “Quite right!” Applause.) We stand for unity, we are against amputation. The policy of amputation is abhorrent to us. (Works, volume 7, p. 401)

I have just met one of the descendants of Confucius. Kong Zi’s great-great-great … grandson is Kong Xianglin, and he spoke today on the old man himself at the World Confucius Forum, held here in Adelaide. I held forth on Confucius and Mao Zedong, but I also managed to get a photo Kong Xiangling and myself. It is for the next post, but here is Kong himself.

Kong

Add a beard and long whiskers and he could be a spitting image:

Kongzi

Given the interest in an earlier picture of me on a tropical throne, I thought I would add a few to fill out the scene. It is not so often that one takes a camera to the toilet, but then this is no ordinary affair.

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My only regret is not having the camera with me on the occasion when I was joined by some others. First, a horse meandered over, became curious, walked towards me and then looked directly at me from about a metre away. We began a conversation about many things (I will not elaborate here). As we were conversing, a chicken came around the corner, stopped and cocked its head while looking at me. Close behind the chicken came another horse, and it too stopped close by and joined the audience.

This evening at my Chinese class we were discussing once again the various ‘measure words’ used when speaking of different objects. These words typically go in between a number and the object being numbered. To make things even more puzzling for someone learning the language, the specific ‘measure word’ used changes depending on the category of the object being numbered. For instance, different measure words are used for things with wheels, pieces out of a collection, long and winding things – obviously quite logical.

The one I like is zhāng (张), which is for flat things, such as tickets, maps, pieces of paper, and so. So ‘a photograph’ is yī zhāng zhàopiàn (一张照片), literally ‘one [flat] photograph’.

My question for the teacher was: ‘what if I run over a cat and it becomes quite flat?’

Would I then say yī zhāng māo (一张猫), literally ‘one flat cat’?

This would be instead of the usual ‘measure word’ if the cat were more rounded and still active, yī zhǐ māo (一只猫).

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Another travel story at Voyages on the Left, called ‘Stalin, the Priest and the Donkeys‘. Meanwhile, I am writing a longer piece on Stalin and anti-Semitism (from Losurdo).

In his collection of articles on anarchism from 1906-7, in response to intense anarchist activity in Georgia, Stalin offers his fullest exposition of dialectics (at this point). He closes with this telling rebuttal:

Lastly, the Anarchists tell us reproachfully that “dialectics . . . provides no possibility of getting, or jumping, out of oneself, or of jumping over oneself” (see Nobati, No. 8. Sh. G.).

Now that is the downright truth, Messieurs Anarchists! Here you are absolutely right, my dear sirs: the dialectical method does not, indeed, provide such a possibility. But why not? Because “jumping out of oneself, or jumping over oneself” is an exercise for wild goats, while the dialectical method was created for human beings.

That is the secret! . . . (Works, volume 1, p. 312)

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Nice to be home, even after a great session at the Society of Biblical Literature on my book, The Sacred Economy (more on that soon). Above all, it is wonderful to greet our pet spider, who dwells in a corner by the dining table.

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It is a treat to introduce her to guests, who are usually not aware that they are sitting centimeters away from this beautiful arachnid. But she was looking a little thin after a couple of weeks of being on her own, so I caught a moth and dropped it into her web.

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Usually she runs and hides when my hand looms above the web, but when the coast is clear, she comes out to enjoy some dinner with us:

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